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March 17, 2019 11:28 am

Pittsburgh Jews Reach Out to Christchurch Muslim Community After Attack on Mosques

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Flowers are placed outside Linwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Edgar Su.

Members of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community are reaching out to the Muslims of Christchurch after the massacre at two mosques in the New Zealand city on Friday in which 50 worshipers were killed by a white supremacist gunman.

Marnie Fienberg — whose mother-in-law was one of the 11 Jews murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October, also by a white supremacist assailant — wrote in NOW Magazine, “New Zealand may be half way around the globe, but it’s the same story of hate and violence against people peacefully praying to their Creator.”

“I wish I was there to comfort the families and help support them in their pain and agony,” she said. “I can’t stop crying for those left behind, especially the children — children who are old enough to understand that there is loss, but don’t understand the meaningless and utterly insane hatred that spawned it. Remembering the look on your children’s faces when you told them that their grandmother is dead from hatred haunts you every day.”

“No one — no matter one’s religion, age, colour, anything — should be harmed in any way while peacefully praying in a house of worship,” Fienberg added. “To the families that are reeling, I want to say that we in the Jewish community are your siblings; we are all children of Abraham. We are appalled at this attack and mourn your loss deeply. We pray for peace, and I personally will pray today that your families are sitting beside Allah in paradise.”

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The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh is collecting donations for Christchurch’s Muslim community.

Donations can be made online at the federation’s website.

“Unfortunately we are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community,” Meryl Ainsman, the chair of the federation’s board, said. “We are filled with grief over this senseless act of hate. May those who were injured heal quickly and fully, and may the memories of the victims forever be a blessing.”

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